Upcoming Dissection Courses in Arizona

Happy New Year to you all. With the rush of events of 2012, there hasn’t been as much time as I hoped to build discussions on the upcoming Fascial Dissection classes in Mesa AZ. But now that the year has turned, the world declined to end, and it’s only weeks away, I am getting excited.

Hopefully your transport and lodging is all set.

Here’s what you need to bring:

A lab coat
A box of 50-100 rubber gloves – non-latex if, like me, you have a latex allergy
Surgical masks and essential oils – I don’t use these because I hate anything on my face. Also the lab is well-ventilated and the new embalming method is less toxic. But if you are sensitive in this way, you can dab a couple of drops of mint or sage or something on the mask and literally ‘mask’ the smell.

Here’s what you might bring:

A small flashlight
Old clothes – aside from the lab coat, there is no formality in the lab. Todd’s labs are well-ventilated, so a good wash may get the smell out, but some of you may choose to leave the clothes you wore to the lab in the dumpster as you go home – so bring some old ones.
A notebook or iPad to keep notes
Your favorite anatomy atlas – but please understand you will have greasy rubber gloves on most of the time, so taking notes or consulting a book can get the book or notebook ‘dirty’ and not very fun to use after the course. There will be a couple of ‘already dirty’ books there in the lab to use. It’s good to have your own books and good to take notes, but plan to consult them during the breaks and in the evening.

Here’s what not to bring:

Cameras and videos, for legal reasons, may not be used within the lab.

Designing your project:

Some very good projects are simply too big for a 5-day course: “I want to catalogue all the organ attachments”, or “I want to uncover the entire vagus nerve in all its glory.” – but smaller projects – “I really want to see how the liver attaches to the diaphragm” or “I want to expose the vagus nerve on either side of the heart percardium” will be doable, and very instructive.

If you can convince your cadaver-mates to embark on a larger project, you can certainly do great stuff: dissecting any of the Anatomy Trains lines, for instance, which I hope will interest some. I would love to see as many line dissections as we can muster, and I am especially interested in a careful dissection of the upper Spiral Line.

Here are some other projects I would like to see in particular, which you might grab onto, or it might inspire you about something else:

Take off the rotator cuff muscles from the scapula, leaving them attached to the humerus, and document the blending of the tendons with the ligamentous capsule.

Explore the proximal vs the distal ends of the lower arm or lower leg muscles. At the proximal end, they are welded together fascially. At the distal end, the tendons slide past each other. What is happening at the transition? and what is the variability within the cadavers in the room?

Can we remove the capsule around the knee joint intact, including the cruciate ligaments?

A careful dissection of the retinaculae around the ankle, and again comparing among the cadavers

How do longus colli and longus capitis relate to the Anterior Longitudinal Ligament?

Is the iliacus muscle always bound to the fascia of vastus medialis?

In how many cadavers is there a Reicher’s fascia across the lower thigh?

Can we get a map of the internal fascia of the hamstrings? (i.e., carefully remove the muscle tissue)

Can we dissect the Transversus abdominis separately from the other abdominal muscles?

What other projects interest you – from your own experience or that of friends? It could be the gall bladder or (someone did this and it was fascinating) the clitoris or the trigeminal nerve (God bless you and keep you if you try this one) – but have a little think beforehand.

Notes on procedure:

1) You are encouraged to have a project, but that’s not all you’ll be doing. After a while of work, it’s good to stretch your legs, your back, and your eyes by looking at others’ projects and learning from watching. Some people get really focused, some are more ‘floaters’ – both are valid ways to learn, and the combo works best.

2) Sometimes Todd or I may stop and give a brief lecture to spotlight something interesting, you can join in these or not.

3) Since there will be several projects on each cadaver, you have to coordinate when to turn it over or some such. In the past, this has worked out pretty easily.

4) ‘Outside in’ is the rule in dissection. The first day, we will all be up to our elbows learning about skin, fat, and superficial fascia. By day two, we will be into the myofascia big time. If your heart is set on getting to the brain, or your brain wants to understand the heart, just understand that this will happen toward the end of the course – it’s just not available at the beginning.

I am so looking forward to seeing you at the course and going on this strange and unparalleled voyage of discovery.